The Indonesian became India’s singles head coach in February 2020.
India’s badminton coach Agus Dwi Santoso is not impressed as he only has four players with him and fears that he would not be able to formulate his plans with just months to go for the Tokyo Olympics. He has asked the Sports Authority of India to allow more players in the national camp which is being held at SAI-Pullela Gopichand Academy.
Speaking on the situation, Santoso said, “The current situation is still a worry but we have to adapt and live with the virus. We have been following the protocols of the government but I need more players to implement my plans.”
The nodal sports body had shortlisted eight players for the camp but currently, only four of them are attending it. Saina Nehwal and his husband Parupalli Kashyap are training at a different facility, Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, is at his home in Andhra Pradesh while his men’s doubles partner Chirag Shetty has decided to stay in Mumbai. Ashwini Ponnappa too has preferred to stay in Bangalore and train at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence.
“I understand SAI’s decision to allow eight players for the camp in this pandemic but only four players are training. I need more players of the same level, quality players because badminton is a mind game, it needs teamwork,” Santoso quoted via PTI.
“It has been few weeks and we are still training a few players and that is not good. It is important to train as a group so that players can compete hard and help each other. A healthy competition is important. I hope for support from SAI in getting more players to train. Once we have that, we would be in a better position to prepare and do well in tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics,” the Indonesian added.
“India has a lot of talented and gifted players. But the chances of a medal at the Olympics depends on a lot of things. I am happy with the support and freedom that I have to train players,” he remarked
Santoso, who joined the Indian camp in March after his stint with the Thailand National Team, said it will take time for players to adjust to his training regime.
“It all depends on the players. I am still new here, so I need to understand the players more and they have to understand me,” he says before adding, “I know they are past champions but they have different characters and they will take time to adjust to a new coach.”
He gave his thoughts on the postponement of the Olympics and said, “I have no problem with the delay of the Olympics. I see it as a positive because my players have more time to prepare. So my focus is on the preparation for the Olympics.”